Into the Mental Basement

Thomas Nagel

  • Natural Reflections: Human Cognition at the Nexus of Science and Religion by Barbara Herrnstein Smith
    Yale, 201 pp, £25.00, March 2010, ISBN 978 0 300 14034 7

Those who offer scientific explanations of the pervasiveness of religion in human life are usually not religious themselves, and their explanations are not intended to be compatible with the self-understanding of those who are. Even if scientific explanations predict the persistence of religion, they tend to undermine any claim to the truth of religious beliefs. They are essentially explanations of religion from the outside, and are thought to override explanations from inside a religious point of view.

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